You’re Not As Important As You Think: on “Being Divisive”

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

“Like a fire
Don’t need water
Like a riot
Don’t need order

We don’t need them”

Red Flag, Billy Talent

If you’ve followed me since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that the most common topic is allies I don’t want. I’ve said I don’t want allies who can say they care about Trump, allies who can be turned away by us not being nice, conditional allies, or performative allies.

A common accusation that people get is that people who have my particular tone including many of my friends are “being divisive”.

In the radical leftist side of Facebook (known as “Leftbook” by those of us involved in it), a popular accusation when minority activists speak out is “you’re dividing the Left”.

I find this accusation humorous because not only do I know I’m being divisive, it’s deliberate and a core of my activist practice.

As I touched on in By Our Side or Out of Our Way, I used to be nice in the old blog I was part of before Trump was elected.

I sought to reach out and change minds.

Nowadays, I have come to realize that in this burning world if what’s happening isn’t enough to make you steadfast against oppression, you’re not going to ever really change.  This regime is getting more and more oppressive and decent people will stand against it and by our side believing we deserve to live without investment of labor. I don’t have spoons to invest labor in presenting myself a certain way and nurture people, if the fact that people want to hurt people like myself just because of aspects of our humanity won’t move you to action I can’t trust that you will help me when I need it the most.

My goal now isn’t to reach out to people but to push people away. I need to know who I can trust, and that means seeing who can be moved from caring about my life.

There are a lot of people who tell us that we should be nicer if we want more allies…but my question is why would we want people who would require us to police our language around them, censor and watch our words when we’re in hell?

There are so many people who claim the title of ally and expect it to matter (to the point where we have created the term accomplice instead of ally to be more specific in what we want) to us that anyone who says they are one honestly makes me skeptical.

I need to know who is willing to help and stand by me and mine and who will ditch us when they don’t feel fulfilled. The only way to do that for me is to be hard and challenging in my words and actions so that people need to confront themselves and realize that they are doing wrong and this system is something that they need to be fighting or that I am the problem and they need to stop helping me.

I’m not creating division but exposing divisions of values and commitments. If these people can be turned from thinking I’m a human who deserves help, they never truly believed that. Believing that we deserve rights should be a matter of morality not comfort. My goal is to shake things up, expose who people truly are, and that ends up polarizing and angering people because they don’t like being called out on harmful behaviors or can’t handle me saying that their feelings aren’t actually the most important thing in the world. I’m not the one who is breaking people apart in their ideals, I’m exposing divisions that are already there.

I don’t need everyone and nobody is extremely important to have when the net result of them being here is going to be a drain on my sanity trying to make myself presentable enough to keep them around. People I know and love are suffering and I refuse to prioritize anybody else’s feelings over them. I’m not going to be nice all the time to people who have the luxury of being able to just ignore the reality of what is going on with the world because I frankly don’t trust anyone who is willing to look away from the horror that is happening and say that if they’re going to stand by my side against it I need to be nice to make them feel like there’s a reason to fight, who requires more than the fact that people are suffering and dying to do anything.

When people are suffering from oppression it’s a moral imperative to stand strong and say that is wrong. When the government is doing things that are going to kill innocents, you fight back. You tell yourself this is wrong, you do what you can, which if you’re one of the people who are suffering might just be existing and living, which is huge if a system wants you gone. But if you aren’t you should be doing what you can to help because you know in your heart that it is immoral that the system that makes it so you don’t have to worry about what is happening is making others suffer. We are fighting, rioting because it’s the only language that has ever been heard, rising on wings of fire and broken glass to burn this corrupt order to the ground, and if the way we are fighting, the way we have to fight, is too much for you, we don’t need you. Turn your nose and roll your eyes, complain about our tone and get offended by how we aren’t making sure to exclude you from our venting or following the rules of what you think is acceptable rebellion, I frankly care not, you aren’t important compared to the threats against us and my fellow strugglers. But if you know in your heart that this is wrong and will stand by our side unconditionally, use your voice to carry our own, I’m glad to have you by my side.

The choice is yours, the division between action and inaction not created by me but by your own morality.

Make the right one.

Refuting Respectability: The Amorality and Tyranny of Respectability Politics

“Our futures burn in red horizons
Ashes scattered in winds of change
Casualty numbers are rising
Now it’s time to raise the stakes
We’re meant for something more
Than living just to put food on our plates
I can’t help but wonder
Why should we participate?”

The First Drop, Rise Against

In both By our side or out of our way and A Red Rage #RedInstead I mentioned allies, how I refuse conditional ones and don’t want the ones who I can alienate.

However, this concept goes far beyond just me and deserves its own article, as it’s a concept forced upon all Outcast activists, that we’re all supposed to fight while simultaneously not being offensive in any way, shape, or form. We need to be respectable and act with dignity and are shamed if we don’t. The term in the title is for when our communities internalize this and police ourselves within this norm.

This isn’t just an attitude that is told by allies but also is the narrative our society and the media use. We’re told to accept small gains and not push too hard, told that we’re hurting our cause, and quite often (especially to POC activists) a strawman of MLK is used as a paragon of unobjectionable nonviolence, ignoring his thoughts on capitalism, riots, and the white moderates who are misquoting him.

The level of pressure to be respectable is compounded by racism and sexism, experiences that I have the privilege to not have to handle in my day to day life.

First off, as I mentioned in On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20, thanks to our capitalist system which values property over people, the only way that the media has ever paid attention to a protest is if some destruction happens, forcing people to break something to make society care about their lost lives, a situation which MLK much more eloquently spoke about in the quote that “a riot is the language of the unheard” comes from (in which he says one of the things unheard is “that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” He also called riots and looting understandable. The reason that I’m going on about this is that, as a minority activist himself, I find it bitterly ironic and wrong that a man who repeatedly called out white society and white moderates for creating an environment that makes this sort of violence just and necessary is being used by white moderates to shame the people he fought for.)

But secondly, these causes, autistics fighting for acceptance, black activists fighting against a system that allows cops to kill them with barely any consequences, and any other Outcast fighting to be recognized as equal and deserving to be treated as valid and human, are us fighting fights that shouldn’t have to be fought against grave injustices that are embedded in our society and should be joined by all regardless of how we present ourselves to you or cater to you.

It’s amoral to actually tell people, “Yes, we know your people are being killed and dehumanized, but in order for us to care you need to make us feel good about it.”

It’s tyrannical to enforce a system that won’t even pretend to give a fuck about our deaths and suffering until we present ourselves in a way that is deemed deserving of respect.

It’s dehumanizing in itself because the people who do this are literally expecting us to value their comfort over our lives, which is telling us that you value our humanity so little that you need us to cater to what makes you feel good in order to recognize that just maybe it’s worth fighting for.

When it comes to us who are fighting to be treated as human, as equal to all, to not be dehumanized or killed or be hated or oppressed for what we are by this unjust society, we should not have to use a certain tone, dress a certain way (this goes for trans people as well, they should not be forced to pass as their gender in order for you to recognize them for who they are), behave in a certain manner, be polite or academic or anything, the fact that we’re your fellow human beings and don’t deserve to be going through this hell should be enough for you to stand by our side.

And, if it isn’t, if you seriously need more than that, if these grave injustices aren’t enough for you to stand by our side against them, that says a lot more about your morality than it says anything about us.

Especially now, in this new regime.

We are being more attacked by this system than ever before, and we need to fight back so much harder. Frankly, Outcast or not this system should be enough for you to stand up and fight back, considering that the threats that this new era bring affect so much more than minorities. But if you aren’t, at least be a decent human being and stand by our side in our fight. I will not fade into respectability and accept all the hells I mentioned in A Red Rage with a smile on my face and a polite tone. We’re fighting back because we don’t have the choice to do otherwise, and you should think that these injustices deserve to be warred against without politeness or respectability of any sort. And if your moral convictions are so weak that you can’t see beyond your own comfort to realize that just maybe you should fight by our side, if you’re content to let oppression happen if we don’t make sure to make you happy in our fight against it, your inaction supports the system that needs to be fought against and you’re choosing the oppressors over us. By our side or out of our way, pick one, don’t claim to support us or be an ally if you can’t stand against injustice without us holding your hand. There is nothing helpful about you if our tone can stop you from caring about whether or not we should be treated like humans. If you are willing to say, “Yes I’ll care about your oppression but only if you’re nice to me,” you have picked your side, and it’s not ours.

I will not fade

neurodiv-antifa

Credit to Cassandra Oakdown. You can also look at her Redbubble shop here. (Neurodiv stands for Neurodivergent). If you want to buy products with the logo check here (available products shows the range of items)

 

The reactions to my On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20 article were diverse. I inspired some as was my goal, but there were some people who responded with the dangerous call for peace.

Now, I could tell you that You Are Not The Target Audience of the protests, or how it’s a total myth. On my Facebook I made post after post about the systematic reasons for why the system makes it so literally the only way to get attention by the media is to smash a window.I also linked to this article about how MLK was a disruptor because people love to misquote him to shame protesters.

And that explains the logic but not why I’m so actively mentioning it and happy to see my fellow Outcast doing it.

Disabled activism has always been in the background, despite us being the largest minority. The only time autism is ever mentioned in the media it’s after a white person does a shooting and then it’s offered as a throwaway reason for why he may have done it. Even in this election when autism and vaccines were part of Trump’s, Clinton’s, and Stein’s platforms, it was still pushed to the side.

I accepted it, even though it made everything seem futile. We weren’t actively being legislated against based on our disability, our fight was always a narrative, one which I aimed to debunk every claim I could think of in my article We Are Not.

I was academic, aiming towards my readers’ minds and was nice, aiming to inform and be as uncontroversial as possible.

Now, it’s war, and I’m no longer accepting it.

The threats to my kin involve Nazis and the President, who is thinking about creating an anti-vaxxer committee on us and whose picks for the heading the Department of Education and the Attorney General are both against the laws that protect disabled students, in addition to signing an executive order saying he seeks a swift repeal to the ACA that is keeping many disabled people, including the guy I love, alive.

He’s also literally a fascist.

Most recently his spokesperson created the Orwellian term “alternative facts”, which all of us should be recognizing as simply lies.

To paraphrase a poem, I refuse to go gently into the good night but shall rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I shall do what I can to fight and be visible and will stand by my fellow Outcast in their actions to do the same, because we didn’t create the system that values broken windows over broken lives.

We shall fight tooth and nail to survive this dark era, and I and other disability activists aren’t going to fade away with our lives under threat. We shall not seek peace with our oppressors, and those who expect us to be peaceful and fade enable those who would seek us gone. Fascists have never been defeated by kind words, and this time will be no different. We’re standing up and fighting back, whether that means smashing windows or punching Nazis (as the link says, we can always punch Nazis). By our side or out of our way, it matters not. We’re pushing forward no matter what. We can do nothing else.

-Laoch Onórach

On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20

(This article is dedicated to all those who participated in protests today especially those who suffered doing so. May your fight just be the first blow.)

Today started with a pall over my heart and mind.

Today is the day of Trump’s inauguration, when everyone who told us to wait and see will finally be silent as the world goes down.

The hits have continuously come, from the ACA (the thing that kept the guy I love along with many disabled people alive) to the ramifications of Betsy DeVos running the department of education (big issue for me, as thanks to those laws my parents were able to get the public school district to pay for Anova, the school for autistics that I went to…they weren’t able to provide me the education that I had the right to under the IDEA [the law that both the attorney general pick and her are against…in interest of showing just how dire the attorney general is beyond just the IDEA I’m sharing Samantha Bee’s video on him] so they had to pay for the other school, which taught me how to deal with the neurotypical world and quite literally saved my life. With the law gone or altered, that path would no longer exist) to learning that Trump plans to cut 25 violence against women programs…a darkness of hopelessness and defeat cast a shadow over me.

But then I saw…the picture. I saw signs from protesters of defiance and rebellion, saw pictures from my friends on the East Coast of the people rising up at the inauguration, articles about anti-fascist protesters at the DeploraBALL, riots and broken windows (just like MLK would have wanted), and now I have a fire in my heart burning away the darkness.

The symbol that I created (well, I had the idea for, my friend actually brought it to life) for The Outcast Army, the rage and action group for the marginalized people affected by Trump (and this blog, which I’m hoping will become a platform for other Outcast voices as well…no allies, but anyone who is under threat please feel free to join, solidarity is strength) is an angry fist rising from a broken heart and today exemplified this spirit.Yes, we are hurting, but we aren’t giving up. We’re rising up, and today was just the beginning.

Trump and your minions, you may take the rights of the Outcast with your regime, may take our very lives, but you will not take our spirits.

On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise from the ashes of our despair. You can arrest us, beat us, even kill us, but you won’t make us admit defeat and surrender. You may have expected us to just take whatever you throw at us, but if that’s the case you thought wrong. If the hateful will tell us that we shouldn’t exist we shall take pride in what they despise, become living symbols of defiance. We will make our voices heard, make it so people know what you’re doing to us, we will agitate to make it so people never accept your reign and hate. If you kill one of us we will mourn and then fight even harder in their name. We will not suffer quietly, we shall make you pay for every inch you take. We will not go gently into the night, but we will light the night on fire. The cries of Trump, his supporters, and the enablers of their hatred for peaceful protest (which is a myth) will not silence us, as we didn’t create the environment that makes it so the news will only pay attention to protests involving property damage because our society values property over people.

We will not stand by as you push the boundaries of immorality, as your decisions and your appointees erode what rights we have. We shall disrupt, not just today but for the next 4 years.

Today was the first protest of the new regime, but it will not be the last. Our flame will burn ever stronger in defiance of the darkness. We won’t go without a fight.

-Laoch Onórach